Hamilton “lauds” fantastic turnaround

Date published: Monday, September 22, 2014
CHRIS Hamilton has paid tribute to his club’s players, coaches and backroom staff for producing a “fantastic” performance at York which puts Oldham into the Kingstone Press Championship One Grand Final and within one win of promotion.
The 31-12 win at the ground of the Championship One leaders sends Oldham into the play-off final at Headingley on October 5 for the second year in a row and for the sixth time in eight years.
They will play the winners of York v Hunslet, who beat Gateshead Thunder yesterday to earn a major semi-final next Sunday at Huntington Stadium.
Roughyeds have beaten them both in the last ten days, having won 25-24 in a thriller at the South Leeds Stadium.
They will now get two weeks to prepare for the final while York and Hunslet will knock each other about next weekend.
Said Hamilton: “Whether we play York or Hunslet at Headingley we have nothing to fear as long as we play like we have done in the last two games.
“Players and coaches will be working hard in the next two weeks to get ready for October 5, and I hope we take as many fans as possible to Headingley with us.
“We are hoping this will finally be our year.”
In finals stretching back to 2007, Oldham have suffered heartbreak at the hands of Featherstone, Doncaster, Keighley, York and Rochdale.
Added the club chairman: “Nobody knows more than us what it’s like to lose in the final, so there is still a lot of work to be done.
“It was a fantastic performance at York, but after winning at Hunslet I genuinely thought we would carry on the good work in the next game.
“The way we have gone about these play-off games has been nothing short of exceptional and remarkable and full credit must be given to everyone concerned.
“In two heavy defeats in the league at York and Hunslet we conceded a total of 92 points and scored only 24, so what we have done in the play-offs has been truly amazing.
“It was a dark day for the club when we lost 54-12 at York and since then players and coaches have been chomping at the bit to get back there and put the record straight.
“We played as though there was no tomorrow and that our lives depended on it. The players went about their job in a very professional manner from start to finish.
“We have earned the right to appear in the Headingley final and I don’t think anyone can deny us that.”
Coach Scott Naylor warned that the job is still unfinished and added: “It’s no use winning two play-off games and then turning up at Headingley and not performing.
“It’s great to celebrate the fact that we are through to the final, but our aim all season has been to win promotion and we have still to put the finishing touches to that.”
Seat and standing tickets for Headingley will be on sale from the Oldham club on Wednesday, full details to be announced tomorrow.
Oldham’s only injury was centre David Cookson’s gashed head, but he will be okay for the final, protected by a head guard.
An incident near the end in which Lewis Palfrey claimed he was bitten was placed on report by referee George Stokes and will now run its course through the RFL’s usual disciplinary channels.
Stokes confirmed that he received an allegation from the Oldham captain, but Palfrey said he didn’t wish to comment.
Said Naylor: “If the allegation is proved — and that’s a big ‘if’ — it would be very disappointing for our sport, but I want to stress that at this stage it is only an allegation.”
Mo Agoro, currently out of the Oldham side while Dale Bloomfield and Adam Clay occupy the wing spots, is one of four nominees for Kingstone Press Championship One Young Player of the Year.
But everyone else at Oldham has been overlooked for nominations in the other two categories, Kingstone Press Player of the Year and Kingstone Press Coach of the year.